Tuesday, April 26, 2011

where i should be

Sometimes the best made plans just don't go as they were ... well, planned. This weekend found us deciding at 10pm Friday night that we were going to drive to Rochester the next morning. It was unexpected, somewhat urgent and exactly where we needed to be.

And somewhere in the midst of driving several hours to spend only a few with the people we needed to see, I lost the *funk* that I had been carrying around for awhile. Maybe it was the weather (rain for weeks straight never made anyone really happy) but I really think it was the night shifts. I don't blame much on my night shifts (unless you happen to see me anytime before 2pm after I worked the night before) but there are times when my body simply doesn't adjust as well and it leaves me with little motivation to do anything. So my e-mail was mostly silent, my sewing machine didn't hum and our apartment was not clean at all (so sorry honey!). And while I enjoyed many things and did, in fact, have a meaningful lent, I knew something wasn't exactly right. Maybe it was seeing a few people that I love ... maybe it was Easter ... maybe it was the sun shinning ... but I think I have shaken "it" - whatever "it" was.

There was a sense that although we hadn't planned on our little weekend trip, we were exactly where we should be. Knowing that, instead of stressing about our change of plans, allowed our time there to be a blessing that I wasn't expecting. And tonight as I fold three loads of laundry, plan our meals for the week, and hopefully finish an extended knitting project I know that this, too, is exactly where I should be.

the flowers currently on our table and a snapshot of what Christopher made for dinner last week --- yumm!!
And so, with a grateful heart ... thanking God for oh, so many blessings, here listing #1542 - 1558
- Christ is Risen! Truly He is risen!
- birds scattering across the lawn when I walk across
- hugs from friends
- being where we needed to be
- rejoicing with a friend (Laura, do you read this? That one is for you! hugs!)
- prayer
- finding comfort in God's promises
- hearing my friend's laughter in the midst of her pain. (love you.)
- being welcomed into my in-laws home by the woman who is house/dog sitting - we arrived unannounced and she was gracious in watching Loki and making it clear that we were bothering her at all
- long, reflective walks
- breakfast with my aunt, uncle, cousin and grandma (during which Loki was a model citizen dog)
- looking at pictures of my friend's new baby and her son's birthday party. not going to lie, makes me want to have babies ...
- Loki ... just about everything about him, even when he is squirrel-ly
- planning our meals this week. it is no secret that my hubby mostly does this but his semester is ending in the next two weeks and I look forward to taking care of him in ways that I don't usually get to.
- dinner from the Indian place down the road
- chips and salsa -- reminds me of my dad
- an afternoon spent with my cousin and grandma

Wishing you a wonderful week -- exactly where you are.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Breakfast at the Brennas

In our stage in life of night shifts and doctoral school, breakfast together is something of a rarity.
But this weekend found us both home, the weather cold and rainy and the school books tossed to the side (err, in the office, actually).
And my husband makes some yummy french toast.
So we had breakfast around lunchtime, watched a few movies and didn't leave the apartment except to take care of the dog.
It was lovely, delicious, and a great way to re-charge batteries flattened by school and work.

Breakfast together is one of my favorite things to do with Christopher. I enjoy lingering in the morning together and the tone that it sets for the day. I hope that when we do have kids, breakfasts together is as much of a family tradition as dinners together.

So what is your favorite meal with your family?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Three small posts in one

I bought my stethoscope during my sophomore year of college and I was *poor*. It was my first semester of nursing school and we had to buy BIG nursing books, uniforms (white pants are no good for nursing, FYI) and a stethoscope. One day I got home from class to find a letter from one of my grade school Sunday teachers (Bonnie Zimmerman) and with it a check for $100. She explained that she thought I could use some extra money for "unplanned" expenses. I put that $100 towards my first stethoscope and over the last 11 years, I have taken that stethoscope with me to 5 different hospitals, including one floating hospital off the African coast.
Recently I have noticed several cracks in the neck of my stethoscope and while I do think it'll be fun to see how long it is before it completely cracks in half, I ordered another on-line last week. I got the same kind -- I mean, $70 (which is the price now) for 11years, that sounds like a deal to me.
*poor* by American standards with less than $100 in my bank account (a fortune in other parts of the world, I know). I did/do also have generous parents that would have willingly helped so my *poor*ness was flexible**
Coupon Fail.
Yesterday I went to Sam's Club with four coupons to use on various items. The toilet paper coupon was for Target only. I decided not to get the cuties (mandarin oranges) since we still have tons of oranges left over from when my in-laws came to visit and gave us their produce to clean out their fridge before a big trip. The fancy razors I wanted to get/had a coupon for were $30 and I couldn't bring myself to buy them even though I do think they were a good deal. And I brought the wrong coupon for the other item I needed. It was a rare coupon fail day for me -- for a variety of reasons. I am comforted by the fact that I will still use most of those coupons and maybe even double them at Pick n Save on Saturday.
$1 Jeans.
Earlier this week I drove up to Oshkosh to visit my Grandma and my mom, who was visiting my grandma. On my drive up there I noticed a hole in the side of my jeans and I thought it was odd because I thought I wore my "good" jeans on that day because I went to a work meeting earlier. You see, I have two almost identical pair of jeans and (I thought) only one has a hole on the side. Then I realized that those were my "good" jeans but they had a hole in the same place - which makes sense since the jeans are the same brand with slight variation. I was a little bummed but not surprised, I haven't bought myself clothes since 2009; when I was planning my wedding, I cut out my clothing budget and have never added it back in.
Later we went to a dollar thrift store and I found the same brand of jeans for $1. They do have a button fly (isn't that kinda 80's?) but they fit well (i.e. are short) and were a dollar so that makes me happy.
And a little bit of gratitude too =)
- beautiful afternoons, long walks in the park and my good dog a the end of the leash
- being home when my hubby gets home, snuggling on the couch, watching tv. (Christopher has an evening class two nights a week and since I go to work at 7pm, there are some days when we don't see each other at all - because he goes to school early and i sleep late - so we both enjoy the nights when it works out that i can be home when he gets home after his evening class.)
- fun co-workers, patients on our unit, nights that go by quickly
- peeling oranges, brewing tea, chopping carrots
- visits from our parents, two fun dinners at new restaurants, shopping and playing board games
- Have I mentioned that Chris got a full scholarship for school next year? not sure I did ... Thanks to my handsome hubby for working so hard, and thank you Marquette for noticing =)
- a birthday get together for a new friend, menu planning for a visit from Rochester friends this weekend and a coffee date on the calendar for next week
- playing cribbage with my grandma, a fun new purse from my mom, hearing that my brother's new job is going well
It appears that my camera and I are playing a game of hide and seek -- the next post will have pictures, I promise!!

5 minute Friday: on distance

I'm catching up, posting a few entries that I wrote at work (shh, don't tell!) last week but didn't post. 

Linking up with Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday. The simple rules are to write for five minutes on the prompt.
This week: On Distance.
GO 11:52pm
Sometimes distance is felt, like when friends are hurting and I hope that the phone calls, e-mails and texts convey my love and long hugs. And the distance allows that the only active help I can give is prayer, a stark, in my face reminder that prayer is the best active help I can give anyway. And the distance teaches thankfulness for prayer, cell phones and friendship.
Sometimes distance seems far, like when I watch two kids who I have just started calling family, grow up and balance nerf gun fights with learning responsibility and learning Shakespeare monologues. And the distance teaches thankfulness of the time spent together.
Sometimes distance is relative like when I finish my hour long walk with the dog, get into the care and drive along that route in 5 minutes flat. And it is a good reminder that while I'd rather be there to give long hugs or sit in the waiting room, we are all connected by a power greater than anything on this earth. So the distance between us, even though is seems far, is bridged easily by our mighty God. 
STOP (11:57pm)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

5 minute Friday: If you met me

Linking up with Gypsy Mama today (err, Friday) ... writing for 5 minutes, unedited on the topic put forth.
Go (2:11am)
If you met me you would ask what I do for a living and I would answer that I am an ICU nurse ... working 12 hour night shifts in a little tiny hospital. You would either a) tell me that someone in your family is a nurse and that you ask them ALL your medical questions, b) wince when I told you about the night shifts and ask how I do it c) announce to the whole room that everyone is "safe" because there is a nurse present or d) all of the above. I'd smile polietly.
If you met me I hope we have more than 5 minutes to talk because if we only had 5 minutes, I'd be pretty quiet and you may not think I am that much fun. I would, however, be trying to remember your name and a fact about you that would make you memorable. I hope we'd have longer so that we can talk about something other than our jobs and where we live. Instead I hope we would talk about our hobbies and our families and that I'd get to ask you to tell me how you met your husband. Trust me, I've met a lot of people recently and most women like to answer that question and it gives me a lot of extra info about their lives.
Stop (2:16am)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We are going to a birthday party on Saturday night.

It may not seem like a big deal but we are going to a birthday party Saturday night.

One that does not involve us driving across the state of Wisconsin (as wonderful as those visits are).

One that does involve people that live in the same zip code as us.

One that will also involve much talk about Augustine and Greel and jokes about Catholicism.

So, we are going to a birthday party on Saturday night -- and I knew almost everyone listed on the invite!

#1532. Thankful to be invited
#1533. Oh so thankful for the opportunity to build friendships here.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

During lent, or at least this last week of lent, I have decided to list 20 gifts every day. That has been nice, but that has left me with 140 things for last week, so I'm going to mix it up and just list a few. Rest assured, #1411 - 1531 are safely in my journal (and google docs).

There is no denying that gratitude is hardest when things aren't overtly wonderful. When I'm churning the wheels at a job that I'm still not sure exactly what I think of it, when a bike ride (with Loki) ends with a hurt ankle, when the pile of laundry doesn't ever seem to dwindle.

When I struggle to give thanks and to find things to pluck down with pen and keys:

**crisp walks in the dog**
**produce coming down in prices**
**fun, funky songs stuck in my head**
**tea and my bible in the morning (one of my goals this year was to read the new testament in 2 months, well, I didn't but I will get it done during lent)**
**the way Loki gathers all his toys in the living room**

When simply listing doesn't change anything, although it has changed me. The skies are still cloudy and the ground still muddy.

**a spontaneous trip to Marquette to see Christopher during a day when I wouldn't normally see him**
** waking up briefly to a kiss before he leaves for the day**
**sorting through things; a few boxes for Goodwill**

I grumble, ungrateful, cataloging the good but failing to see it - focusing on the clouds and the laundry and the pain.

**asking for forgiveness for an angry, ungrateful heart**

I cry frustration and hurt on my husband's shirt.

**his wise words**
**his fingers brushing away my tears**
**grace and forgiveness, given first by God then by my husband**

With repentance, struggle reaps fruit; with forgiveness, focus shifts to the good.

There will be cloudy and laundry and pain and all of those things do deserve a portion of my time and energy but by giving them my day, I make a statement about my day. Choosing to see the good, the blessings, the gifts while still wearing a rain jacket, folding laundry and taking advil and icing my ankle, is difficult. Being thankful for those things: rain jackets, folded towels, advil and ice is not my first instinct.

But in that kind of thanksgiving, though I don't have it all figured out, there is joy ... life ... peace.